Helps Secure National Institute of Health's Center for Biodefense
and Emerging Infectious Diseases with a Blast-Mitigating Curtainwall
Wausau Window and Wall Systems has fabricated a blast-resistant
curtainwall for the National Institute of Health (NIH) Center for
Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., opening
this summer. When fully operational, the C.W. Bill Young Center's
84,000-square-foot research building will house approximately 250
laboratory, administrative and support staff.
The four-story center conducts and supports research to understand,
treat and ultimately prevent the myriad infectious, immunologic
and allergic diseases that threaten hundreds of millions of people
worldwide. Given the nature of the work, the building has multiple
layers of safety and security in place: It is located within the
secured perimeter of the NIH campus, set back from both internal
and public access roads.
exterior structure is reinforced to withstand explosive blasts.
Assisting with this effort, more than 25,000-square-feet of blast-mitigating
curtainwall plus an additional 1,784-square-foot screenwall was
provided by Wausau, finished in a clear anodize by Linetec, and
installed by glazing contractor Harmon, Inc.
The building's overall design was conceived by CUH2A Architects,
developed by Spaulding & Slye, and built by Whiting-Turner Construction
"Our number one priority is to protect the inhabitants and
the contents of this building," emphasizes Whiting-Turner's
project manager Brian Schmitz. "With a typical curtainwall
system and a blast at a distance accessible by a vehicle - say in
the form of a truck bomb - it's not the blast that will cause the
most injury and death; it's the surrounding materials. The glass,
the metal, the debris act as projectiles and can tear up anyone
and everything in their path."
To alleviate such concerns, Wausau's high-performance, blast-mitigating
SuperWall system was repeatedly and successfully tested to meet
the NIH's requirements prior to installation and passed additional,
rigorous inspections since the facility's construction was completed
in December 2005.
The Center will add 14,300-square-feet of biosafety Level 3 laboratory
space to the campus and enables scientists to expand biodefense
research and to pursue scientific opportunities in emerging infectious
diseases that have been delayed or deferred because of the lack
of adequate high-containment research facilities. According to the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the
lack of such facilities has delayed the development of vaccines
for naturally occurring diseases that threaten the United States,
such as that caused by West Nile virus.
Having this facility on the NIH campus takes advantage of the infrastructure,
both physical and intellectual, present in NIAID's existing intramural
research program. The Institute estimates it would take at least
10 years and more than $1 billion to duplicate this basic and clinical
The center's design also is expected to accommodate future changes.
"As priorities in infectious disease research change, as they
inevitably will, we can realign the space allocated to the different
research programs located in the facility," notes Kathryn C.
Zoon, Ph.D., director of NIAID's Division of Intramural Research.
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